CHINA COBALT SNAPSHOT: Cobalt metal price lower; cobalt sulfate price accelerates downside

Key data from the Friday August 3 pricing session in Shanghai.

China cobalt metal prices

China cobalt sulfate

Cobalt metal
- China’s domestic cobalt metal price dropped to 490,000-530,000 yuan ($71,718-77,572) per tonne ($28.10-30.40 per lb China VAT-free), with the seasonal lull continuing to the downside.
- Spot sales and quotations for Jinchuan cobalt stood around 490,000-505,000 yuan per tonne, while those for imported cobalt were around 520,000-530,000 yuan per tonne.
- There has been minimal uptick in buying appetites since the start of last week due to buyers’ typically restocking at the beginning of the month on better cash flows.
- Yet, fundamentally, demand is still weak due to the traditional seasonal lull and negativity stemming from the recent, persistent price downswing.

china-cobalt-snapshot-sulfate-discount-06-08-2018.jpg

china-cobalt-snapshot-tetroxide-06-08-2018.jpg

Cobalt sulfate, tetroxide
- Chinese cobalt sulfate prices have accelerated to the downside in the past two weeks after stabilizing around 110,000 yuan per tonne - a technical tolerance limit for Chinese producers for a while - following producers’ attempt to step back into the price negotiations to facilitate sales.
- Spot quotations have been around 105,000 yuan per tonne, while a majority of producers would take a discount as large as 2,000 yuan per tonne.
- Trading activities have been thin, with some small business concluded around 100,000 yuan per tonne in the past week.
- Consumers are conducting minimal procurement based on the orders they had received from battery manufacturers and lithium-ion battery materials producers.
- Elsewhere, spot activity for cobalt tetroxide was even thinner than for cobalt sulfate as a result of the gap between consumers’ bids and producers’ expectations.

Key quotes:
- “The market is still overwhelmed by negativity. Though domestic spot supply has tightened as a result of increments in exports, there is limited buying interest” – a trader
- “The problem is that there is no signs of a price rebound” – a second trader
- “Cobalt sulfate demand is weaker now. It is not about price, as the buying appetites for cheap units produced from scraps are thin” – a producer
- “Most people don’t expect consumption recovery until September” – a second producer

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